Avery still in ICU after spleen laceration

September 14, 2009, 8:54 PM

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEW YORK — Rangers forward Sean Avery remained in an intensive care unit Thursday, two days after his spleen was lacerated during a playoff loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The internal bleeding, that has kept Avery in intensive care, stopped Thursday. If that improvement continues, he could be moved out of the unit Friday morning, Rangers spokesman John Rosasco said.

"His levels are good," Rosasco said after the Rangers beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-0 on Thursday night to extend their season at least one more game.

Avery spent Wednesday in the hospital after the injury ended his season. He is expected to be hospitalized at least a few days. Avery did not need surgery, and Rosasco said he is expected to make a full recovery.

"He was never in a life-threatening situation," Rosasco said.

Some teammates saw Avery on Wednesday, and coach Tom Renney hoped to visit on his way to Madison Square Garden on Thursday but didn’t make the trip. The Rangers trail the Penguins 3-1 in the best-of-seven, second-round series.

"I just made a judgment call on whether or not I should (go) based on what I’ve been told," Renney said. "He’s groggy and sleeping and stuff. I’m hoping to see him tomorrow. I understand he’s better this afternoon and coming along nicely."

Avery’s mother, Marlene, told the Toronto Sun her son’s spleen had not ruptured, but he had internal bleeding.

The spleen, about the size of a fist, is on the left side of the body, behind the stomach. It helps the body fight infection and filter blood. A person can live without a spleen but loses some ability to combat infection.

Avery, set to be an unrestricted free agent after this season, is known for pushing the envelope on the ice and off it. While with the Red Wings, Kings and Rangers, he has made an art form of riling opponents.

He was injured during Tuesday night’s 5-3 loss from a hit, possibly in the first period, but played despite worsening pain. He took seven shifts in the first period, five in the second, and seven in the third. He spent 4:58 on the ice in the final period.

Rosasco said Avery was evaluated at the arena, then rode in a car with team physician Dr. Andrew Feldman to St. Vincent’s Medical Center and walked in shortly after the game.

The Rangers are 33-14-10 with Avery this season and 10-13-3 when he was out with injuries. He was acquired from Los Angeles in February 2007 and sparked a playoff run in which the Rangers went 17-6-6 in games he played.

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